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29.06.2004 Business & Finance

Parliament adopts reports on two loans

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Accra, June 29, GNA- Parliament on Tuesday adopted a report from the Finance Committee on a credit Agreement between Ghana and the International Development Association (IDA) for 84,976,797 dollars for the financing of the Second Poverty Reduction Support (SPRS). The loan facility has a moratorium of 10 years and repayment period of 30 years.

Presenting the Committee's Report, the Chairman Mr. Eugene Atta Agyepong told the House that the loan would support the "education sector, which was moving towards inequities in access and quality in basic education".

He said in order to improve access to educational sector beginning from 2004/2005 academic year, "all government-controlled fees and levies would be abolished in 40 deprived districts to remove the financial barrier to access created by fees and levies."

Mr Atta Agyepong said the committee was informed that girls in the deprived districts were selected because they represent a very vulnerable group in society.

The House also adopted the committee's report on a loan agreement between Ghana and the OPEC Fund for International Development for five million US dollars to finance Accra-Tema Rail Rehabilitation Project. The facility has an interest rate of one per cent, a grace period of five years and repayment period of 20 years semi-annual instalments, beginning February 2009 and ending August 2023.

Mr. Atta Agyepong told the House that the rehabilitation of the Accra-Tema rail line and the provision of passenger train services would improve mass transportation of the large number of people living in the Accra-Tema metropolitan area and those who travel daily between the two cities.

He said: " It will reduce the use of car and passenger vehicle and therefore reduce congestion, fuel cost, road maintenance cost, vehicle maintenance cost, spate of road accidents as w ell as increase working hours of commuters between Accra and Tema." Mr. Atta Agyepong said the rehabilitation of the rail line would also be an important step towards the Eastern Railway line and assist in conveying goods from the Tema harbour.

Members in their contributions said the loan was very important for the project and urged the government to intensify efforts to source for private loans to expand and rehabilitate rail lines in the country. 29 June 04

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